As the Jubilee Line Turns Week #8: The Birds & the Brits

For three quarters, things were going so well.

For three quarters, Eagles fans were watching the team they remember so fondly from last year…you know, the team that got off to a big lead and won so easily.

For most of this season, it seemed that the Eagles were in a funk.  But in last week’s Giants game, and for three quarters of the Carolina game, Philadelphia looked like it had finally ate the snickers bar and become “themselves” again.

And then it all unraveled before you could say “Piccadilly Circus”.

In one of the most bizarre quarters of football I ever recall, Carolina scored 21 unanswered points in a 21-17 Eagles defeat that left most of the 69,000 plus fans who had ventured to the Linc on an unseasonably chilly and windy day, understandably despondent and confused.

Perhaps the Eagles were thinking ahead to visiting Big Ben, Windsor Castle and the London Eye, instead of keeping an eye on Panthers wide receivers Devin Funchess & ex-Eagle Torrey Smith, who torched the Birds for a combined 10 catches for 123 yards and one touchdown?

Perhaps defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz started reading the London Underground “tube” map, thinking it was his defense’s play calling sheet?  That would explain why his defense seemed like it was underground and stuck in a tub for the whole 4th quarter.

But the Eagles offense is not without its share of blame either.  Just as the defense, which had played so well for three quarters, completely fell apart, the offense, which had done the same for most of the contest, decided to match the defense’s 4th quarter ineptitude.

The same Eagles offense which managed 19 first downs through the first three quarters only managed two in the final 15 minutes, and Carson Wentz’s decision to throw to a double covered Alshon Jeffery instead of opting for a short pass to a wide open Wendell Smallwood on 3rd & 2 on the Eagles final drive sealed the game.

Wentz’s stats for the day were simply amazing  – 30 for 37 passing for 310 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.  But his numbers masked that he, just like the rest of the team, were abysmal when it came to closing out the game.

The Eagles now sit at 3-4 and are a defensive stop on 4th & 10 against Carolina and 4th & 15 against the Titans, respectively, from being 5-2 instead.  But as ex-Giants coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are”.  And the Eagles are simply average at this point.

The Birds travel to London this week to try to erase the bad taste that still permeates after a bad loss to Carolina.  And while the Eagles 4th quarter collapse did deflate my London trip balloon somewhat, it will be the first time that the Birds will play a regular season game overseas, which will make it all the more exciting for their fans who travel almost as well as Steelers fans.

The Eagles opponent for their inaugural international game will be the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have played a home game in London every year since 2013.  The Jags made it to the AFC Championship last season, and were a quarter away from facing the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl.

Since starting the season 3-1, however, the Jags have lost three straight and have been outscored 90-28 during their losing streak.  They benched their quarterback, Blake Bortles, during last week’s 20-7 loss and replaced him with journeyman Cody Kessler, though Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone did state that Bortles would start against the Eagles on Sunday.

Before the season, I saw this as a loss for the Eagles, with the thought that facing a good Jacksonville team that was used to playing annually in the U.K would be a tough task for the Birds.  But the Jags have turned to pussycats as of late, and this is a great opportunity for Philadelphia to forget about the Carolina game and right the ship heading into their bye.

A win would put the Eagles at 4-4, which is not where the defending Super Bowl champions expected to be at this point.  And while there is still half of a season remaining to be played, the schedule only gets tougher from here, with road games against the Rams & Saints still looming.

Luckily, the NFC East is weak this year, which still gives the team a chance at a division title and a first round home playoff game.  But we should forget about any hopes for a first round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs at this point.

While we were looking forward to drinking Chimay when the season started, we may have to settle for Coors Light.

But regardless of the Eagles record, I plan to enjoy my time in the U.K with the “Birds & the Brits”.  Eagles win 24-17.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless noted otherwise):

Dolphins at Texans 8:20 PM FOX/NFL Network (Thurs)

Ravens at Panthers 1:00 PM CBS

Buccaneers at Bengals 1:00 PM FOX

Packers at Rams 4:25 PM FOX

Saints at Vikings 8:20 PM NBC



As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #7: Back to Normalcy

The Eagles got back to a bit of championship “normalcy” last Thursday night.  By normalcy, I mean that they got ahead early against an inferior opponent and played stifling defense to ensure that any hope of the Giants coming back was thwarted.

The devil’s advocate would point out that the Giants are not exactly the New England Patriots, and their offense consists of Saquon Barkely and (enter sound of crickets chirping here).  But playoff caliber teams are supposed to win these kind of games, which was a departure from what the Eagles did in losses to Tampa Bay & Tennessee.

And while the Giants look to have a great talent at running back, they may rue the day that they chose Barkley over a quarterback that could have been their future for years to come.

Their fellow brethren at MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets, chose Sam Darnold with the 3rd pick in the 2018 NFL draft with the hope that he will be their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future, and if that comes to fruition, it will only serve to rub more salt in the Giants’ wounds.  Since the mid-1980’s,  it has been the Giants that have enjoyed most of the NFL success in the Big Apple, but their fateful decision on draft day could change that.

Speaking of franchise quarterbacks, since returning from injury, Carson Wentz seems to look more comfortable as each week progresses, and he seems to have developed an uncanny connection with Alshon Jeffery, his #1 wide receiver.  The signing of Jeffery to be Wentz’s go-to guy before the 2017 season seems to have been a great move by general manager Howie Roseman, and the improvement of Nelson Agholor since his disappointing rookie season has really solidified this receiving corps.

One of the main areas of focus, especially after the Eagles lost to the Minnesota Vikings two weeks back, has been the run-pass ratio, with some criticizing the Eagles for their heavy dependence on the passing game.

The problem with just looking at the numbers is that they are often predicated by the situation in the game, as well as the down and distance.

Against the Vikings, the Birds, because of dumb pre snap penalties, were often in 2nd & long and 3rd & long situations, which skewed the run-pass ratio more toward the pass.

During the Giants game, I did my own “modified” run-pass ratio tracking by looking only at plays that weren’t passing downs (1st & 10 or less, 2nd & 6 or less, 3rd & 3 or less).  In this analysis, I also excluded 1) The Eagles last drive before halftime (as they were passing to get into position to kick a field goal) as well as the 2) Last 10 minutes of the game (which was skewed toward the run since the game was all but won).

Out of 37 total plays that fit the aforementioned scenario, I counted 21 passing plays & 16 running plays, for a 57% pass ratio.  Anything over 60%, and the Eagles would have seemed too pass happy, so 57% was definitely an acceptable percentage in my opinion.

Unfortunately, with no Eagles game last Sunday, I played the role of bonafide “couch potato”, hoping for some outside help against our NFC East foes.  But it never showed up.

The Panthers couldn’t manage to pull out a win against the Redskins, while the Jaguars didn’t show up against the Cowboys, which means that a logjam currently sits at the top of the division, with the Redskins at 3-2 and the Eagles & Cowboys each at 3-3.

This week, the Panthers come to Philadelphia, playing the last of three straight games against an NFC East opponent.  Carolina hopes to avoid a losing streak, and expect their quarterback, Cam Newton, to be flashing his goofy smile regardless of what the game situation may be.

The Birds have been great at home under Doug Pederson, and it looks like they may have righted their ship after last week, so I’m predicting a Birds win, 34-17.

The Eagles at 4-3 sounds much better than 3-4, and would make their first regular season game in London all the more special.  But first things first…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless otherwise noted):

Titans at Chargers (London) 9:30 AM CBS

Patriots at Bears 1:00 PM CBS

Saints at Ravens 4:05 PM FOX

Cowboys at Redskins 4:25 PM CBS

Bengals at Chiefs 8:20 PM NBC

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #6: A Must-Win in the Meadowlands

If the general consensus is that the Eagles are suffering from a Super Bowl hangover, then the good news is that the rest of their division is too busy doing shots of tequila (figuratively speaking) to care.

That is the only thing one can surmise, as witnessed by the fact that no team in the division has a winning record five weeks into the season.  The Washington Redskins had a chance to be the early front runners, but went to New Orleans and got blown out in a game where yours truly was more interested in watching weather coverage of Hurricane Michael by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

In my opinion, the Redskins were 2-1 going into the New Orleans game only because they hadn’t faced any team of substance, and Drew Brees and the Saints quickly put them  back in their place.

But while the rest of the division wallows in mediocrity, your hometown Birds seem like they don’t want to be left out of happy hour at the “NFC Least Bar & Grill” either.  The Eagles lost another game on Sunday that they probably would have won last year, as even though they managed to erase a 20-3 deficit to make it a 20-14 contest and were 24 yards away from taking the lead, that drive ended up with no more than a punt.

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen – 2nd & 4 at the Vikings 24 yard line and the best this team can do is punt.  But that’s what happens when dumb penalties have become a staple of your young season.

And even after they managed to pin the Vikings all the way down at their own 10 yard line, Minnesota was still able to drive the ball down and kick a field goal to put the game out of reach.  There was no Brandon Graham strip sack a la last year’s Super Bowl.  No big stop on 3rd down to give the offense another crack at reaching the end zone.

The “top shelf” liquor that this team was drinking from last season has now been replaced by the cheapest house brand, which is tainted and severely watered down.

This team could easily be 5-0 right now.  But they could just as easily be 0-5.  Meet in the middle and you have a mediocre product.

Luckily, there is still time to right the ship, but as we near the halfway point of the season, even Father Time only gives you so many chances.

The Eagles could beat the Giants this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise.  Conversely, they could get beat in a close game and it would not shock anyone either.  Such is the state of your Birds these days.

The Eagles will not only have to deal with Giants stud running back Saquon Barkley, but also a passing attack that features Odell Beckham  Jr.  The loss of safety Rodney McLeod for the year will not help in that respect, and the defense is still waiting for someone in the secondary to step up and fill his void.

I’m not sure what to think anymore.  The Birds are defending Super Bowl champions and still have a good portion of their team intact from last season, so the hope is that they eventually turn on the switch and play like it.

The Eagles players will tell you that they are a much better team than their record indicates, but their fans are still waiting for some corroborating evidence to back up that statement.

My heart tells me that the Birds will win, but my head tells me otherwise.  I’ll go with my heart…at least for this week.

Birds win 24-16.  If not, the flight for the Eagles game in London in a few weeks could seem a LOT longer than seven hours…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless noted otherwise):

Bears at Dolphins 1:00 PM FOX

Steelers at Bengals 1:00 PM CBS

Ravens at Titans 4:25 PM CBS

Jaguars at Cowboys 4:25 PM CBS




As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #5: The Vikings Return

First, Carson Wentz got his BFF (best friend forever) Jordan Matthews, back on the team.

Next, he got his BCR (best current receiver) Alshon Jeffery, back from injury.

That combination was a lethal one last Sunday afternoon, as Jeffery returned to catch eight passes for 105 yards.  And while Matthews only had one catch for 56 yards, it was for the game’s first touchdown that put the Eagles up 7-3 late in the 2nd quarter.

Add to that Zach Ertz’s ten catches for 112 yards, and the Eagles passing game had them up 17-3 halfway through the third quarter on a gorgeous sunny day in Nashville looking full of roses and rainbows.

Unfortunately, by the time the game ended, the city that is the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame had the Eagles singing only the blues, as Tennessee rallied for a 26-23 victory in overtime.

What was a comfortable 17-3 lead turned into a Titans 20-17 lead before the Birds woke up to tie the game with 16 seconds left.  But on the play before, the Eagles, facing 3rd & 3 from the Titans 12, somehow chose to throw a fade pattern into the end zone that had no chance of being caught, which had me scratching my head.  A better play call there might have given the team a chance to win with a touchdown in regulation.

But all that didn’t seem to matter when the Eagles got the ball first in overtime at their own 25 and, within five plays, already had a 1st down at the Titans 17-yard line.  Surely, the defending Super Bowl champions would continue this drive with ease and take it in for a touchdown, ending this game once and for all?

But the Eagles lost two yards from that point forward, which meant that even though Jake Elliott’s 37-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with ease, the Titans still had a chance to tie or win the game.

What followed was disconcerting to say the least, as the Birds defense allowed Tennessee to convert not one, not two, but THREE 4th downs to keep their hopes alive and eventually seal the victory with a touchdown.  The worst one was the first, as on 4th & 15 from their own 31, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota dropped back to pass and found a wide open Taywan Taylor out for a leisurely stroll 19 yards down the sideline.  Mariota threw the ball his way and Taylor turned to his left to catch it without so much as an Eagle in the vicinity to disrupt him.

Last season, the Eagles would have stopped the Titans right there.

Last season, even after Tennessee had cut the Eagles lead to 17-10, this team would have found a way to counter with a score of their own, dashing any hopes the Titans would have had of making a game of it.  But last season, the Eagles were an unknown who had never won a Super Bowl in their history.

A byproduct of being defending Super Bowl champs is that no one will take this team lightly on any given Sunday.  Even the teams that range from downright putrid to slightly above mediocre (like the Titans) will play the Eagles as if it’s their Super Bowl, as witnessed by the fact that Titans fans (which only made up half of the stadium due to the large influx of Birds fans that made the trip to the Music City) celebrated as if they had actually won something after the game was over.

In the words of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, “Toto – I don’t think we’re in 2017 anymore.”

A 3-1 start would have put this team in a good position.

A 2-2 start is somewhat precarious, as the schedule is brutal, with trips to New Orleans and Los Angeles still on tap for the 2nd half of the season.

The Eagles got to the Super Bowl last year because of a nine game winning streak in which they did not lose a game for over two and a half months, which set them up with the #1 seed & homefield advantage in the playoffs.  Travel on the road in the postseason to Minnesota, Atlanta, or L.A with your backup quarterback last season, and I don’t think the Birds are Super Bowl champions.

While it’s still early, the Rams are already 4-0 and hold a two game lead over Philadelphia for the top seed in the NFC.  And while injuries can quickly change any team’s fortunes, the Eagles can’t afford any more bad losses.

This week’s opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, also had high hopes for 2018, especially after acquiring Kirk Cousins from the Redskins to be their starting quarterback.  But they’ve also gotten off to a slow start with a 1-2-1 record, and cannot afford to fall back any further in the NFC “Frozen” division (that’s NFC North for those of you keeping tabs).

This Sunday would be a good time for the Eagles to start to right the ship.  Problem is, Kirk Cousins knows the Eagles too well, having faced them twice a year over the last six years.  However, playing at home before their home crowd, the Birds seem to do quite well under Doug Pederson, and should continue that trend this week.

Birds win 27-23, and hope prevails for a Super Bowl repeat…for at least one more week.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday & in EST unless noted otherwise):

Jaguars at Chiefs 1:00 PM CBS

Dolphins at Bengals 1:00 PM CBS

Redskins at Saints 8:15 PM ESPN (Mon)


As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #4: Music City Time

This team seems to be making a habit of this.

Three times in their last four home games dating back to last season, their opponent has gotten within ten yards of the end zone in the closing minutes of the game with a chance to win.

And all three times, the Eagles have come up victorious.

The first game of the three was the reason their playoff run continued last season, and one of the main reasons we can emphatically declare them Super Bowl champions for the first time.

But with the exception being the NFC Championship against the Vikings, the Eagles sit at 2-1 on this young season because their defense stiffened when it needed to, and stopped the Falcons and Colts when they were in danger of stealing the game.

The Birds could have easily been 0-3 right now, and contemplating what might have been.  But good teams find a way to win these games, which is what the Eagles are.

But how long can this go on?  How many weeks can this team expect their defense to pull a rabbit out of their hat?

To be fair, they were playing with their backup quarterback (Nick Foles) the first two weeks, though the “devil’s advocate” in me will say that this is the same backup quarterback who won them the Super Bowl last season.

In addition, the “chosen one” (Carson Wentz) was understandably a little rusty his first week back, as witnessed by his best Johnny Manziel impression, when he stared down Zach Ertz on a poorly thrown pass that was intercepted by the Colts Anthony Walker.  Luckily, Indianapolis could only muster a 31-yard field goal, which helped to mitigate the damage.

It also didn’t help that the Eagles were still playing like a “MASH” unit, with many of their starters, including wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and running backs Darron Sproles and Jay Ajayi, still out last week.  Luckily, Wendell Smallwood came up big in their place, and Bucks County rookie Josh Adams and 2nd year back Corey Clement played admirably as well.

This week, the Birds travel to Nashville to face the Titans and maybe catch a country music concert while they are there.  Not sure if Elvis will be making the trip from Graceland for the game, but it does look like many Eagles fans are hoping to make it a grand old party at the Grand Ole Opre, as many are expected to travel out to the “music city” to cheer on their Birds.

As of now, it looks like Alshon Jeffrey should be back in the lineup, which will help the Eagles and Carson Wentz get their groove back in the passing game.

It has been a long time since the days of the “Music City Miracle” for the Titans, but they currently stand at 2-1 as well and are hoping that Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota can be their future savior…if he can actually stay healthy.

This will not be an easy game for the Birds on the road, but Wentz and the crew will prevail 24-16, before partaking in any country line dancing.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday and in EST unless noted otherwise):

Vikings at Rams 8:20 PM FOX/NFL Network (Thurs)

EAGLES at Titans 1:00 PM FOX

Buccaneers at Bears 1:00 PM FOX

Dolphins at Patriots 1:00 PM CBS

Bengals at Falcons 1:00 PM CBS

Ravens at Steelers 8:20 PM NBC

Chiefs at Broncos 8:15 PM ESPN (Mon)

The Last Word:

Ladies & gentlemen, meet “Gritty”, the brand new mascot that the Flyers unveiled this week.

gritty flyers mascot

At first glance, this looks like a character from “Fraggle Rock” gone awry.

Plus, as opposed to endearing (e.g the Philly Phanatic), this creature looks like something that my six year old niece and two year old nephew would be terrified of.

If this is a harbinger of things to come, the Flyers may be in for a very long season….


As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #3: The Wentz Wagon Returns


NFL prognosticators are very much like meteorologists – they can be wrong just as often as they are right.

Most pundits had looked at the Tampa game in week #2 and figured that a trip to Florida would be, no pun intended, a “day at the beach”.

Many figured that by the time the 4th quarter rolled around, the backups would be filling in to handle mop-up duties while the starters were drinking Mai-Tai’s on Clearwater Beach and searching for retirement homes for when their playing days are over.

Yours truly, who had spent the weekend in Sarasota celebrating the union of “S & S” into marital bliss, was also guilty of thinking the same.  So when all of us headed into the security line at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and heard the sound of the cannons being fired from the pirate ship in the north end of the stadium, we assumed it must be due to the opening kickoff.

But no, before the sweat had even begun to drip off the brow on what was a very sweltering (and typical) September day, the Buccaneers had already scored, thanks to former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who was cut by ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly four years ago.


The player whom the Eagles got absolutely NOTHING for in return torched his former team on the first play from scrimmage for a 75-yard touchdown catch, and ended the day with four receptions for 129 yards.

Meanwhile, the Eagles offense decided to shoot itself in the foot with bad plays and penalties, and what was a 7-0 deficit eventually turned into the Birds being behind 27-7 before finally waking up and coming back to make it a one-score game at 27-21.

But it was too little, too late, and the defending champions will come home with a record of 1-1 on this young season.

This loss is not the end of the world.  This team was 1-1 last season after a road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs before rolling off nine straight wins and winning their division on the way to the Super Bowl.    And there is no reason to think they cannot have another successful season.

The key for this week is that Carson Wentz will be back under center for the first time since December 10, 2017, when he was injured for the remainder of the season.

While Nick Foles played better than anyone could have imagined, the main difference between Wentz & Foles can be summed up by the following:

Carson Wentz makes the team around him better.

Nick Foles looks better because of the team around him.

Foles had a great supporting cast last year, which helped to propel the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory.  But Wentz will be the difference maker for this team.

When healthy, he has the ability to be a game changer, and should be the Eagles starting quarterback for at least the next ten years (keeping my fingers crossed when I say this).

The Eagles face the Indianapolis Colts at home this week, a team which has had its own share of health concerns concerning their quarterback.

The condition of Andrew Luck’s shoulder over the last two years has been a bigger mystery than what happened to Tony Soprano in that diner when the screen went blank with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” playing in the background.

But while we’ll probably never know what the producers of the Sopranos were thinking, we do know that Luck is finally back healthy for the Colts after a 19 month hiatus, which makes them a team to not be taken lightly.

The good news is that the Birds, and their fans, will be ready to hop on the newly refurbished “Wentz Wagon” as it exits the tunnel to a chorus of cheers, and should give this team a boost on the field, even though he will be somewhat rusty in my opinion.

So what about the score?  Reader Arun H. had predicted a 20-13 Eagles win in the opener and was almost spot on (final score was 18-12 Eagles) so I’m piggybacking on his prediction for this week, which is an Eagles victory, 27-16.

If he’s right again, I know who I’ll be calling for my future Powerball lottery numbers.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all games on Sunday & in EST unless noted otherwise):

Saints at Falcons 1:00 PM FOX

Broncos at Ravens 1:00 PM CBS

Bengals at Panthers 1:00 PM CBS

Titans at Jaguars 1:00 PM CBS

Chargers at Rams 4:05 PM CBS

Steelers at Buccaneers 8:15 PM ESPN (Mon.)



As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #1: Championship Edition


After 58 years of frustration, mediocrity, some close calls, and a lot of heartbreak, the team from the city of brotherly love finally broke through the steel gates in grand fashion and brought their city what they have richly deserved for so long…the team’s first NFL championship of the Super Bowl era.

What made it even more special was that it was totally unexpected.  This was not one of those teams from the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb era of the early 2000’s when everyone figured that the Eagles would easily win the division and go to the NFC Championship game with a reasonable shot to make it to the Super Bowl.

If one were to go back to Labor Day 2017 and find anyone that predicted that this team would win it all, they would probably be labeled a dope or moron (and not just by Howard Eskin).

No, 2018 was a season in which a 9-7 record would have signaled a step toward respectability and a sign that the team’s 2nd year quarterback was progressing in the right direction.  But somewhere along the way, someone forget to tell this team that merely earning a winning record was good enough.

A 61-yard field goal by kicker Jake Elliott as time expired gave the Eagles and their fans an exhilarating last second win in their home opener and kick started a nine game winning streak, which put the Eagles at 10-1 and gave the league notice that they were serious contenders to become the NFC representative for the Super Bowl.

But a week 14 road win against a tough Rams team, which clinched the NFC East, was tempered by the fact that their star quarterback, Carson Wentz,  would be out for the remainder of the season.  And when his backup, Nick Foles, looked downright awful in his last two regular season games, many felt that the the Birds would be “one-and-done” in the playoffs, and that Carson Wentz’s injury was just another sign that this team was eternally cursed.

Most national prognosticators seemed to agree with that sentiment as well, as the Eagles entered the playoffs as the first #1 seed since the 1970 Colts to be underdogs in the divisional round of the playoffs.

But with coach Doug Pederson tailoring the offense to his quarterback’s strengths, and Nick Foles’s improved play, the Birds squeaked past the Falcons on a defensive stand, and then blew out the Vikings to earn the right to play in a Super Bowl that no one expected them to be in during the dog days of summer.

And who could have asked for a better opponent than the New England Patriots?  The same team, quarterback, and coach who had defeated the Birds in their last Super Bowl appearance 13 years earlier would be the foe they would have to exercise their past demons against.  And in a game that was one for the ages, the Birds played with an aggressive style that their former coach, Andy Reid, would never have done.

If Reid had still been the Eagles coach, the “Philly Special” would have been replaced with a field goal,  and the gutsy 4th & 1 when Doug Pederson gambled and went for the first down and succeeded with 5 minutes left in the game (which eventually resulted in the winning touchdown) would have been replaced by a punt and a 33-30 Eagles loss.

Pederson deserves all of the accolades for his play calling in the Super Bowl, and this team deserves all of the credit for rallying together as “underdogs” and jelling at the right time.

After what was nothing short of a miracle season, the Lombardi trophy is finally yours Philadelphia.  So without further ado (and before we began the 2018 season), I dedicate the 2017 championship season to the following:

  • Section 244 at the Linc (and a special shout out to Section 745 at the old Vet)
  • Abhi K., a longtime Philadelphia sports fan and his prized “We are #1” pose in many of our childhood photos.
  • My father, who had me change the channel to the Eagles game at 1 PM one Sunday afternoon when I was 7 years old.  The television has been replaced multiple times since but what is being watched has remained the same.
  • Longtime Eagles season ticket holder Steve M., who ironically happens to be married to a lifelong Giants fan.  I guess opposites actually do attract.
  • Janaki Maushi, who still follows all the Philadelphia sports teams even while living 8,000 miles away from Broad & Pattison.
  • My mom and her “halftime hoagies” all throughout my childhood.  They were always served with a smile, even on days when the Eagles had given you nothing to smile about.
  • Joe L., my season ticket comrade for 18 years.
  • Arun Kaka, who is always optimistic that the Eagles can go 16-0, even in years when it looked like they may go 0-16.
  • My sister, “The Neelj”, who’s knowledge of Eagles football is second to none.
  • Shashi Maushi, who’s smile is always missed when the Eagles win a big game.
  • Pathak Kaka, to whom I lost every Eagles bet I ever made.  Luckily, he never made me pay up and actually wash his car.
  • Merrill Reese & Mike Quick, who make it worthwhile to turn down the sound on your TV and turn up the radio.  Much like Harry Kalas before them for the Phillies, the game would not be as enjoyable to watch without them.
  • Anthony Gargano (the cuz) – a “4 for 4” Phila. sports fan & radio personality on 97.5.
  • Ray Didinger – the reason to DVR “Eagles Postgame Live” on my way home from the Linc.

Last but definitely not least, my uncle Kishor.  While he has not been with us since 2010, he was a huge Eagles fan who I had the pleasure of watching many Eagles games with in person.

While sitting at my seat at U.S Bank Stadium following the Eagles Super Bowl win, I couldn’t help but think that he was there in spirit, commenting about how awesome that “Philly Special” call was.

So what can we expect from the 2018 season?  Repeating as champions is never easy, as it has only been accomplished eight times previously, but this team has the talent to do it.

But so often, the fire to repeat is not the same as winning it the first time, and complacency can often get in the way.  The one difference with this team is that their star quarterback wasn’t able to be there during last year’s stretch run due to injury, and whether he says so publicly or not, he wants to win it with the team on HIS shoulders…not as a spectator on the sidelines.

Carson Wentz could be the reason this team repeats, but there will be a bullseye aimed at the Eagles by every team they face.  Week #1 will be a tough test, as the Atlanta Falcons are out for revenge, especially after falling two yards short of advancing in last year’s divisional playoff game.

Birds fans will be psyched to see the team’s first ever Super Bowl banner being hoisted at Lincoln Financial Field during the pregame ceremonies, but once kickoff takes place, that banner will become yesterday’s news as far as the game is concerned.

Luckily, the return of starters such as Darren Sproles, Jason Peters & Nelson Agholor will help to clear out the preseason cobwebs, and the Birds win their opener, 31-21, to get their season off on the right foot.

As for Broad & Pattison, it will continue to turn…but this time with it’s inhabitants as defending champions.  Has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST & on Sunday unless noted otherwise):

Falcons at EAGLES 8:20 PM –  NBC (Thurs)

Bills at Ravens 1:00 PM – CBS

Cowboys at Panthers 4:25 PM – FOX

As Broad & Pattison Turns Superbowl Edition: Jack & the Beanstalk

The time has come for Jack to once again attempt to climb the beanstalk.

It’s not that Jack hasn’t tried before.  But such an opportunity has been very rare, with only two prior attempts in fifty-two years, both of which were unsuccessful.

The first time, back in January of 1981, most expected that Jack would be victorious.  But as we all know, the favorite does not always succeed, and Jack was wound up tighter than a yo-yo,  nervous and on edge, and it showed as he never had a chance, hitting the ground with a thump almost before he started the climb.

During his last attempt in 2005, Jack showed more resolve early on, and for a while, it looked like he might actually succeed.  But the giant not only had too much talent, but also seemed to use some unscrupulous methods against Jack, and with time eventually working against him, Jack did not display the urgency that many expected, which eventually resulted in his downfall and another lost opportunity.

And so it’s come to this.

Thirteen years have passed, and on Sunday, Jack will once again look up at the beanstalk and attempt to do what has failed him those two previous occasions – climb to the top and rightfully claim all the riches that await there.

Many will wait with bated breath as he tries, knowing that the giant that awaits to thwart him is not only a very formidable foe, but the same one he faced previously.  The giant has seen many attempt to try, and with the exception of one, all others have failed.

Shall he succeed, there will be more than just a bag of gold coins, a goose that lays golden eggs, and a magic harp awaiting him.

If he succeeds, the heart and admiration of a city, a city that has watched him come so close before only to fall short, will be in his hands.

If he succeeds, all the demons of years’ past will have be exonerated.  All of those years when others around him were successful multiple times while Jack could not succeed even once will have been forgotten.

The “Jack”, as you know by now, is your Philadelphia Eagles, an organization that has not tasted a championship since 1960.  Ironically, the “Super Ball”, a bouncing ball made of synthetic rubber, was created four years later, which was the basis for the coining of the NFL championship being called the Super Bowl.

But 52 years of the modern age of the NFL (the “Super Bowl” age) have passed, and while the other kids that play alongside the Eagles in the NFC East playpen (the Giants, Redskins, & Cowboys) have won 12 of the previous 52 Super Bowls, the Eagles still carry the shame of never having won even once, figuratively wearing a big fat zero on their chest like a scarlet letter.

But all that could change come Sunday night.  Much like the Patriots did back in the 2001 season, a win, in the best case scenario, could catapult this team into years of organizational success with Carson Wentz at the helm.

Win, and the Eagles have some bragging rights with their fellow NFL, and more specifically, NFC East brethen.

Once again, their opponent is the favorite, but would they want it any other way?  The prognosticators haven’t had the Birds favored in three straight games, but prognosticators are like meteorologists…they only seem to be right half of the time anyway.

The one area where the Eagles lack compared to their opponent is experience, but eventually, blocking, tackling, schemes, and talent win the game, and the Eagles have enough of it to succeed.

The strange thing is that while New England has won 5 of the last 16 Super Bowls, they’ve all been close games, with their five victories decided by a total margin of 19 points.  They’ve never dominated their opponents the way the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980’s and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990’s did.

At some point, the clock did EVENTUALLY strike midnight for Cinderella.  Perhaps it’s now time for the Patriots championship carriage to turn into a pumpkin as well?

I think the Eagles will win for one reason and one reason only – it’s THEIR time.  This team has faced so much adversity in the form of injuries to key players, with the biggest one being the loss of their franchise quarterback.  Yet they have persevered and made it all the way to the doorstep of a championship.

If the Birds don’t attain their ultimate goal on Sunday night, we can look back at a very enjoyable season with much optimism for the future.  But if they were to win, aside from celebrating in frigid Minneapolis on Sunday night, I will ecstatically look forward to one thing – writing about it afterwards.

The writing part won’t be hard at all.  Frankly, it’s been in my head for 12 years since I started writing about the Eagles to my friends by email on the eve of the NFC Championship in 2005.

I just need the Birds to do their part and give me a reason to put it on paper….and I believe they will.

So fasten your seatbelts and, as an ex-Eagles wide receiver once said “Get your popcorn ready”!

Jack is primed to climb the beanstalk once again, and this time he is meant to succeed.


As Broad & Pattison Turns NFC Championship Edition: On the Doorstep

playoff pic 2017

In a wild and wacky game, in what has become a wild and wacky season, the Eagles survived and held on to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 15-10.

The win put the Birds on the doorstep of the Super bowl for the first time since the 2008 season and gave their fans their first NFC Championship game at home in thirteen years.

With the fans in a frenzy on every play, this game was a tight, hard fought defensive battle.  The Birds were actually  -2 in turnover differential (2 for the Birds, 0 for the Falcons) which, in the playoffs, usually implies that you’ll be cleaning out your locker and heading for the offseason the following day.

But in this incomprehensible season, perhaps none of that matters.

On the Falcons last drive, which started at their own 24 with just over six minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Falcons faced a 4th & 6 at their own 42, and a stop would have given the Eagles the ball back with just over three minutes left.

Instead, Atlanta QB Matt Ryan hit his #1 target, Julio Jones, for a 20-yd gain, and the agony was prolonged for a little longer.


The Falcons eventually got all the way to the 9-yard line, but after two straight incompletions and facing third down, Ryan once again went to his favorite security blanket, Julio Jones.

Had the pass been at chest level, Jones may have been able to muscle his way into the end zone.  But the pass was low, and Jones was forced to dive for the catch, which enabled cornerback Ronald Darby to tackle him at the 2.

4th down & goal from the 2 and the season on the line.


On that pivotal 4th down, Ryan rolled to his right, effectively taking away half of the field in the process.  But it didn’t matter…the Eagles defense and all of the 69,000 plus in the stands knew that Ryan was looking at Julio Jones and singing the classic Flamingos hit “I Only Have Eyes For You” in his head.

Ryan floated a pass in the air, hoping that the height of his #1 receiver would enable him to bring in a catch that no one could defend.

But Jalen Mills, who was only a 7th round pick but has become a solid cornerback in only his 2nd pro season, was right there in perfect position and the ball sailed harmlessly overhead.

The Eagles season had been saved, as total strangers began hugging each other as if they had been friends for decades.  Such is the impact the Eagles first playoff win in nine years can have.

The Birds now welcome the Minnesota Vikings to town for the NFC Championship, something no one would have thought fathomable both at the beginning of the season, and again after starting quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a season ending injury.

And if Wentz had played against the Falcons, the Eagles would have likely won with much less stress impact on their fans, as the offense was previously operating like a bullet train.

With Nick Foles, it’s become more like “The Little Train that Could”.  But that’s okay, because this defense has really stepped up its game.

That’s not to suggest that the Birds won in spite of Foles.  He was 23 of 30 for 246 yards, and while the Birds turned the ball over twice on the ground, he did not throw an interception.

The problem is that while Wentz would drive the offense down the field for touchdowns, this team seems to achieve more field goals with Foles, as last week kicker Jake Elliott was responsible for 9 of the Eagles 15 points.

In a tight game, the difference between putting 7 on the scoreboard versus 3 could make all the difference.

The Vikings also come in with a backup quarterback in Case Keenum, who was basically a journeyman until he joined the Vikings this season.  Keenum has been playing since week #2 when starter Sam Bradford got hurt, but while everyone has been waiting for him to screw up and revert to playing like a journeyman, it just hasn’t happened yet.

The irony is that both Foles and Keenum, and the Eagles, Vikings, and Rams, are interconnected in so many ways.

  1.  The Eagles traded Nick Foles to the Rams before the 2015 season for then Rams QB Sam Bradford, who is now the Vikings backup.
  2. Foles was the starter for the Rams in 2015 with Keenum as the backup.  Keenum replaced Foles halfway through the 2015 season.
  3. Right before the start of the 2016 season, the Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Vikings for a 1st round pick, as a season ending injury to Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater had them desperately seeking a starting caliber quarterback.
  4. As mentioned above, Keenum only got a chance to start due to Bradford getting injured.

If this chain of crazy events never took place, perhaps the participants in this year’s NFC Championship are totally different.

The Vikings come in with a very stout defense and the ability to muzzle the opposing offense.  It seems unlikely, at least based on paper, that the Birds would be able to garner 20+ points in this game, but the Eagles also have a stifling defense of their own in what looks to be a mostly defensive showdown.

If these two teams played on a neutral field 50 times, they may split the victories evenly.  But this is a perfect example of where the homefield advantage comes into play.

Minnesota is used to the friendly and climate controlled confines of it’s retractable dome stadium.  But put them outside in the elements, and even though temperatures should be in the 40’s for the game, the outdoors and the grass field should help to crimp the Vikings style.

Some other stats that bode well for the Eagles:

  • The Birds are 4-0 as home underdogs in the playoffs
  • The Vikings, since 1982, are 3-13 in road playoff games
  • Two of the Vikings three losses this season have come on the road on outdoor, grass fields
  • The two previous times the Eagles faced the Vikings in the playoffs at home, they went on to the Super Bowl (1980 & 2004 season)

None of the stats above guarantee an Eagles win of course.  For that evidence, every Eagles fan can look back to the final game at Veterans Stadium, which was supposed to be an easy Eagles victory against Tampa that propelled them to the Super Bowl.  Because, as we all know, Tampa could never win when the temperature was below 40 degrees right?  Right???

This will be another tough, hard fought game in which Eagles fans, who are waiting to erupt at the thought of their Birds making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 seasons, will be biting their nails for 3+ hours while watching this game.

But this Eagles team was built with this game in mind.  And while they have gotten there way ahead of schedule, there is no reason to think they cannot extend their season for one more game.

The opportunity to make it to the Super Bowl and give themselves a chance to play for the trophy is right before them.

Today is the reason why the #1 seed is so important.  Play this game in Minneapolis, and the Eagles probably have no shot.

But in South Philadelphia, where “Broad & Pattison Turns”, the Eagles shall turn the page on another chapter in their history.  No “Dilly, Dilly” today, just “Philly, Philly”.

Birds win 16-13.  And the Enchanted season continues.


As Broad & Pattison Turns – Divisional Playoff Weekend: And So It Begins…

If things had gone according to form of even the most optimistic prognosticators, the Birds would have finished their 2017 season at 9-7, which would have earned them the title of  NFC East Division winners in a weak division or an invite to the playoffs as a Wildcard team. And whether they would have played a home playoff game last week in the friendly but frigid confines of Lincoln Financial Field or not, a playoff birth for the first time in four years is something that most fans would have been ecstatic about, as it would have signaled that this team was trending upwards and making great strides to becoming a contender in the near future.

But somewhere around Halloween, all those predictions were thrown out along with that deformed pumpkin sitting on your porch.

Somewhere along the way, a team that most expected to go 8-8, 9-7, or 10-6 as a stretch, started out 7-1.

Somewhere along the way, the steady improvement that we hoped to see in a 2nd year quarterback from a state most Eagles fans knew very little about turned into a franchise quarterback blossoming before our very eyes.

In 2017, Carson Wentz became the kind of quarterback that we had previously watched and envied from afar, as the kind of rare talents he displayed were always found on other teams, but never our own. And his play made those around him look better as well.

But saying that all of this team’s success was strictly due to the quarterback would be an injustice.

The general manager definitely deserves a good amount of credit as well.  And his story his one of persistence.

Howie Roseman was sending letters to various NFL teams in the hopes of getting his foot in the door any way he could.  And when the Eagles finally gave him that opportunity in 2000, he started his Eagles career as an unpaid intern who had to share the side of a desk as his workspace.

But the kid from Marlboro, NJ, who grew up a Jets fan and eventually moved up the Eagles ladder to the general manager position, had to move up not once, but TWICE in the 2016 NFL Draft to acquire the quarterback he coveted.

And not only does it seem that he got the right guy, but he got his franchise quarterback some help in areas that were vastly deficient just a year ago.

While the Eagles finished 7-9 just a year ago, it was fairly evident that the areas of wide receiver, the secondary, and the defensive line needed to be vastly improved in order for this team to make a playoff run.

It was Roseman who signed Alshon Jeffery & Torrey Smith, and traded a reliable receiver in Jordan Matthews to acquire cornerback help in Ronald Darby.

It was Roseman who traded for Tim Jernigan, who has become a stalwart on the defensive line.

It was Roseman who traded for running back Jay Ajayi, who is expected to be the workhorse against the Falcons and help take the pressure off of Nick Foles.

But while the Eagles were flying high after a tough December win on the road against a quality playoff opponent in the LA Rams, that win was tempered by the knowledge that the Birds had lost their franchise quarterback for the remainder of the year.

But while the loss of Wentz was a huge blow to the Eagles Super Bowl chances, the “lucky” part to what was an unlucky situation was that the injury took place so late in the season.

Backup Nick Foles, who ironically was the starting quarterback for this team the last time they made the playoffs in 2013, not only played admirably in the 2nd half of that game, but the win had the Birds at 11-2 and NFC East division winners.

With only two games remaining against subpar competition, the team was able to play just well enough to secure the #1 seed and homefield throughout the playoffs.

But with Foles and the offense looking mediocre over the last few weeks, naturally questions have arisen as to whether the backup has what it takes to get this team to the Super Bowl.

Everyone knows that Nick Foles is not Carson Wentz.  But the good news is that he does not need to be.

And Foles does not need to replicate his 2013 season either…a season where he threw 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He just needs to manage the game and let the other pieces around him do their job.

The most important aspect of the Eagles chances to win their next two games and advance to the Super Bowl is that both games will be played in the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field.

At approx. 4:25 PM this Saturday afternoon, right around the time that the Eagles players are introduced on the field, the excitement at the Linc will start to build.  And by the time the coin toss is completed and Adrian emerges from her coma on the big screen to tell Rocky that the only thing she wants him to do is “WIN”, the noise level will have reached a crescendo.


Four years is a long time to wait for a playoff game, especially for a fan base that is on 57 years and counting for a championship.  And just as Adrian emerged from her coma, this team, whose offense has played in a comatose state for the last two games, will have to emerge and fight for their playoff lives.

Most outsiders do not expect them to succeed.  The Eagles are the first #1 seed in history to be considered underdogs in the playoffs against a #6 seed, which is what the Atlanta Falcons are.

Much like the City of Philadelphia is treated like an illegitimate stepchild that sits in between the glitz & glamour of New York and the omnipresent lobbyists of Washington, DC, the 2017 Eagles and their city are the NFL’s version of  Rodney Dangerfield – they just get “No Respect”.

One would think that coach Doug Pederson has hammered this point home to his team.  At least it certainly seems that way based on his rather curt press conferences this week.  And that’s all good in my opinion…a “chip on their shoulder” mentally is just what this team might need.

As pointed out by 97.5 morning show host Anthony Gargano, it was Phillies fans who, in the 2008 National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Brewers, got into their ace pitcher C.C Sabathia’s head to the point where he walked starting pitcher Brett Myers, which led to Shane Victorino following that up with a grand slam.

At that point, even though it was only game 2 of the NLDS, you knew that the Brewers were done, and the Phillies went on to win the World Series for the first time in 28 years.

Today, on what will be a cold, windy day with temps in the 30’s, Eagles fans will be more crucial to the outcome than any other game in recent history.  This is a game where the fans will not only have to play the role of the “12th man”, but they will essentially have to make up for the loss of talent at the quarterback level by getting into the psyche of the opponent.

The Eagles have had two weeks to prepare for this game and are playing a team that is used to the comforts of a climate controlled dome.

Two weeks to digest and dissect what went wrong.

Two weeks to figure out how to put their backup quarterback in the best position possible to succeed and move on to the NFC Championship.

And with their fans in a frenzy, there is no reason why they can’t do so.

Eagles win and sit on the doorstep of a Super Bowl in this enchanted season.

And so it begins…

Divisional Playoff Schedule:

Falcons at EAGLES  4:35 PM  NBC (Sat)

Titans at Patriots  8:15 PM  CBS (Sat)

Jaguars at Steelers  1:05 PM  CBS (Sun)

Saints at Vikings  4:40 PM  FOX (Sun)